Well it isnt here yet - but a quick glance on the site shows it will be pretty and another great ride. http://www.electronicarts.com.au/en-au/games/pc/halflife/episodetwo/screenshots
[images from the HL2 site]
From some of what I have been hearing, I decided to check the web for details of this new MMORPG. Honestly I wasnt inspired by what I can see. It looks like it might be trying a few new things - but it really looks no better than EQ2 (or even WoWs snazzy style) and the gameplay hinted at nice new things but where are they really. The website played up things like all the ways you can travel and all the mounts and classes that exist - but this is pretty shallow really.
I remember loving NWN when it first came out. The idea of a game of this type which was designed specifially for people to make new content is great. But having a sneap peak at NWN2 on the web now shows that the engine that reveals this world has really grown up:
The trailer is just beautiful (not ingame graphics) but in the same way as Blizzards stuff - really inspirational.
[screenshot images from NWN2 website http://www.atari.com/nwn2/AU/gallery_screenshots.php# ]
WoW (well any MMORPG for that matter) Thinking
Also had several discussions around the idea of depth when it comes to the mechanics of a game like WoW. How exactly would poking a water elemental with a dagger do any damage at all - let alone strike a critical organ and leave it bleeding. So should the world embrace this complexity? It would definately make game and class balance trickier by an order of magnitude. The water elemental example could partially be saved by say having a magic embued crystal at the heart of the creature - rogues could then attempt to damage this in some way. Equally pretty much all creatures just stand there in front of you and melee/cast - there is very little variety in how a fight pans out at the larger scale - it is down to details. Should all the mobs just be orcs then with different spells/abilities - how different is a water or fire elemental from this really? It would make those encounters far more memerable if it was actually different. Even better, if you had to solve the puzzle of how to damage such a crature at all was required.
So perhaps the future is a world with this kind of depth - fighting swarms of bees while climbing ropes up a cliff with waving of hands, smoke, fire and magic.
[journeytime = 1 hour]